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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Tip 261: Longevity is what you choose

Choose to believe that you can take charge of your health. Take action to correct any illness when you see the symptoms early. Dr Joseph Maroon in his book "Longevity Factor: How Resveratrol and Red Wine Activate Genes for a Longer and Healthier Life" said, "We still have not reached the limit of human longevity & that an average healthy lifespan may soon be 100-120 years for many people". We are living in a more toxic and polluted environment, yet we have been granted the grace to discover the science of longevity and should combat our illness and pollution with super antioxidants like Resveratrol.

When I first started work, I travelled quite a bit and developed some rashes but did not visit a dermatologist. After a few visits, I got discouraged with the long wait time and expensive consultation to get the prescription drug and was in constant short supply of the drug. I thought it will get better over time or I need not spend money and time for my health. I was proven wrong and my eczema or Pityriasis Lichenoide Chronica condition spread all over my body and I had to depend on higher dosages of a drug MTX which has side effects on the liver. I battled this for 10 years until I discovered the anti-oxidant Reserve which contains 150 bottles of red wine in 1 sachet or highly absorbable Resveratrol.

I had tried many other treatments such as PUVA, regular 3 times a week ultraviolet phototheraphy for 1 year, less harmful drugs like Dapsone but nothing worked which increased my anxiety and stress. Now I found a natural fruit gel RESERVE™ from Jeunesse that builds my immune system, activates the SirT1 (anti aging longevity gene) and SirT2 by up to 30%. It aids in natural cellular DNA repair caused by free radicals, protecting cells against the dangers caused by a polluted environment. I choose Longevity at the cost of merely SGD120 a month. Click on the link http://lifenewcreation.blogspot.sg/ to find out more. You deserve better.

(Photos show my daughter at one of my birthday dinners at home in Singapore)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Tip 260: Art stimulates creativity

A daddy's proud moment is the convenience of having a display of art that you did not purchase from an art gallery. After a long day at work, I lay at the sofa and admire the work of my daughter - priceless moments! It is better than possessing art by others worth millions, as you knew the full history of your kids' art.

I have seen how Haruka's concept of art progresses over time. In the beginning, I was a little impatient when I saw her colouring outside the boundaries of pictures. I held her hand to teach her the right way. Then I realized it is a natural tendency of learning. Time spent with her will be productive only to a certain extent till she establishes her own knowledge base of what is pleasing for her.

Someone once told me not to send a child to art classes as they would need to develop their own sense of art. I think this is an inconsequential decision since the decision lies with the child on what to absorb and what to explore. I realized Haruka later found her own path to enjoy exploring new ways of expressing herself in art. She began to creatively explore different methods of art, shades of colours, thick and light strokes, designs and ways to draw people portraits. She creates something new each time.

I notice Haruka having a deeper appreciation of different modes of art whenever we see different paintings or products of art workshops. She has interest to participate and watch others create different artistic works. I took her to a small art gallery in a shopping mall and she was observing the different displays. She then applies it as she judges what is pleasing to her eyes and tries to improvise. That is creativity in action.

It is always refreshing to learn about the learning process. Reflection on action, stimulates better action through learning. The more art the child produces, the child inculcates creativity if he/she truly enjoys the learning. Encouragement and time spent with the child can go a long way to keep the interest for creativity to develop.

(Photos show Japanese church camp at Johor, Malaysia Nov 2011).

Monday, 11 June 2012

Tip 259: Live to Worship God

I have returned to my joy and reason of living which is to worship God, my Creator. Not to worship myself, the people I love or the idea of making this world a better place and live for others. Not even to merely live for my family. There is a miracle of life when being in awe of God, trusting God and saying, "Yes, I will do whatever you want of me and acknowledge you as my God". It is never easy to say that. Abraham said that to God when God asked him to bring his son to be sacrificed. It must have felt so troubling and must be one of life's most challenging dilemma. Giving up all you have for God. I encountered that question when I was 16 years old and my answer pleased God. He could search my heart and knew that my love was sacrificial. And God remembered as He did Abraham's love. It served as an altar between me and God for both of us to remember.

It does seem crazy to live your life for some One else. Why not live each day for yourself? Yet, as we trust the Almighty, we only seek to discover life's joy and pleasure. It is the thrill of knowing God and knowing He knows you. God's knowledge of you is beyond skin deep. It is trusting that all your needs are met and as you delight in God, even your desires are fulfilled as who better to know you than your Creator.

Throughout our spiritual journey with God, we may utter how important God is in our life. But at certain episodes in that journey, we may come to a crossroad where we are faced with the choice of just living for ourselves, or acknowledging that only God matters. Yet, God understands if we are not ready, but greater joy and blessing comes to those who say yes.

It is a paradox that when God seeks us to give, it is for Him to reveal our lack and to point us to His provision. God is not selfish but is Love. Abraham was stopped to sacrifice his son, as the lamb was provided. I was not short changed when I chose serving God over my studies. As Jesus asked the Samaritan woman to serve her water, it was Jesus who provided the living water. The water from the well that we can draw upon will not be what God has planned for our lives. Never guess the ways of God to bless us. The question is are we willing to live our lives to honor Him? Do we value God in our lives? Are we truly convinced that God is worth it? Do we have faith to go to the next level of our relationship with God? Are we ready for a paradigm shift that only God's purposes matter, not our efforts? It can be scary to give away the little we have. Yet, God's provision is immense to supply all our needs.

The lyrics by Wayne and Cathy Perrin sums it best.
When I look into your holiness, when I gaze into your loveliness,
When all things that surround become shadows in the light of you.
I worship you, the reason I live is to worship you.
When I've found the joy of reaching your heart, when my will becomes enthralled in your love,

To human is to err. It will be difficult to be faithful to God, no matter how bright and awesome His love for us. Pride seeps in when God blesses us with our heart's desires. Yet, at every opportunity when God reaches out to you, say yes and God remembers. He will not forsake you and will bring you back into the fold where you may never thirst again. You will again recognize the Shepherd's voice and feel safe in His leading.

(Photos show Sayaka at 4 and 7 months old and at 10 months old at a church camp in Johor in Oct 2011).

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Tip 258: Letter to 4 years old Haruka

Dear my darling Haruka,
Daddy is proud of you on your first week of school in Singapore. It was on March 2011 and you were less than 4 years old compared to your classmates. As you were still defining your identity, your English speaking skills dropped, compared to when you were 2 years old and when you were constantly watching Barney DVDs in London. It was a brief 1 month trip in Okinawa in 2010 and suddenly upon your return to Singapore, you were speaking Japanese everyday. But daddy had faith in your language abilities, as I knew you understood when someone spoke to you in English. You adjusted very well and towards the last school term of 2011, you improved significantly in class both in speaking and in writing assignments for both English and Mandarin! Daddy is glad you have a flair for languages, a good memory and did not exert too much pressure in learning. I pray that you continue to enjoy it and may you one day be an international ambassador building good will with the global community.

I thank God that you have constantly watched over your sister as a responsible sister. I am confident you have leadership attributes and is amused when you observe for opportunities to exercise your authority even when playing with other kids. May you continue to find joy in this family to learn patience, kindness and compassion towards papa, mama and your siblings that will develop your leadership skills. May you enjoy playing with your siblings as all of you have very little age gap with each other. A united family who serves one another is a gift we ought to treasure next to our love to God. Papa is still learning the importance of serving others and may have failed in many ways. I am delighted that as a mature and intelligent elder sister, papa has a lot to learn from you too and may you be papa's conscience to lead the family with love, discipline and high ethics.

It is a virtue to be able to appreciate beauty any time, anywhere. I planted a seed of love in you by taking you to the playground to play with Singapore kids from different backgrounds and race. It is harder for daddy and mummy to fully integrate like you, as grown up adults have more fears and insecurities. I am also glad I planted the seed of the knowledge of Jesus death on the cross. I was so touched when you understood how your sins are forgiven by God. I pray that these seed will grow on fertile ground and constantly be protected from anything that would snatch it away. Daddy is always there to encourage you to taste and live life to its fullest and to learn love through the lens of God. May you take daddy's hand and trust daddy fully, In this picture of skating, it was your first time and only towards the end, you experienced the joy of accomplishment of finally standing in the middle of the rink with daddy.
Love, Papa

(Photos show Haruka's 4 year old birthday celebration at her school and later at night at the DB-Bistro-Moderne at Marina Bay Sands, followed by her first stint at the skating rink with daddy).

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Tip 257: Letter to 3 years old Haruka

Dear my darling Haruka,

You were 2 years 1 month old when you first set foot in Singapore. It is a joy to see you grow up and adjust to a new country. You have built the foundation earlier living in Tokyo, London and Hong Kong and have got used to interacting with foreign children, as well as adults who smiled at you and said how cute you were. You picked up English early when you watched Barney and played with foreign children at the church Sunday school at Canary Wharf, London. It is at this age and entering a new land with new cultures similar to daddies (Singapore) that you begin to explore your identity. After a 1 month visit to Okinawa, I was very surprised at how you could quickly switch to speaking more Japanese and not speak English at all. Daddy has since learnt to be patient as your sponge absorbs in various directions.
In Singapore, daddy wanted to give you new experiences you did not have previously. You had the opportunity to learn swimming in Singapore, as it was too cold in London or Tokyo. Daddy was also proud that you and mummy begin to find a Japanese church in Singapore that both of you enjoyed attending every week. You begin to learn bible stories every Sunday besides the children's bible daddy reads to you at night. Daddy was successful in inculcating in you the joy of learning and stirring your curiousity. The Singapore zoo is probably your favorite venue especially when daddy got a zoo visit card. You also were closer to Malaysia now and was able to participate in some Chinese traditions and had the precious opportunity to get to know your great grandmother in 2009, before she passed away in 2011.

In Singapore, you had more space to play compared to Tokyo. Daddy was glad you enjoyed the many toys we brought back from Tokyo since daddy was able to engage transportation of items from Japan. It is your blessing that Daddy was able to spend much time with you before your other siblings were born. May you cherish these moments and be a loving sister to your siblings always. When Sayaka was in mummy's tummy, you told both mummy and daddy that you will be a loving sister who will be kind and play well with your sister. You demonstrate much maturity in thought, speech and behavior and we can only praise God that He is constantly working in your life to guide you each and every day. Sometimes, you pray in your room with daddy in Japanese language. I am so touched by your prayers.

Daddy loves you and is glad for your ability to be the bridge between your Japanese grand parents and still adapt well in Singapore. I pray you will continue to be a blessing to many in the future. Love, Papa

(Photos of Haruka aged 3 years and her birthday celebrated in Ishigaki, Okinawa)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Tip 256: Letter to 2 years old Haruka

Dear my darling Haruka,

I have fond memories of you being 1 year old till you celebrate your 2 year old birthday in Tokyo. During this period, you had the most international experience that many other children your age did not have. You traveled and stayed at England, France, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Okinawa. You may be young then, but I am sure all these experiences added to your enhanced perception of life and ability to adapt in various cultures. Daddy had so much fun being up close and personal with you, by baby wearing you everywhere.  Often times, daddy would complain why you would not want to walk by yourself instead, as it was heavy carrying you long distances, but I had so much fun communicating with you that I realized it is a cherished moment that daddy would not trade anything for. Time spent with you when you were young were very precious.

I remembered some of our conversations and moments when daddy's head was next to yours. We would play hum a tune and guess the song. Even in the midst of blazing hot sun or pattering rain on the umbrella, we were so immersed in daddy's tune and you amazingly guessed every tune with the name of the song. Every time, daddy spotted an interesting flower or animal, I would point it to you and you would then come down from daddy's embrace to look for the little squirrel. With such fun we had, we did not need strollers even when daddy would sometimes bring it just in case. Daddy had free workout on my arms and pelvis muscles when carrying you and you had a free commentary on life. Daddy had a passport to nice events from the kindness of others who would be in awe of a cute charming Asian toddler and we had so much fun together.

I remembered the time when you were dancing on the red carpet of the premier of the movie "Australia" at Oxford Street and the Jazz band was in full applause for your showmanship. Daddy was all proud that my daughter was in the favour of the crowd. Everywhere your small stature took you, crowds were praising how a cute little girl you were. I am sure that added an ounce of confidence in how you further brought yourself up to interact with others. You would not be fearful to step forward to dance or to observe others more closely. This gave both of us, lots of interesting moments abroad to see life in different lenses and not just as tourists. I am thankful that despite all the travels, you were healthy to adapt easily, which would give daddy one less  headache to manage. Thank you for being tough deep inside you.

Daddy fed you with a steady supply of Barney DVDs and mummy consistently read you Japanese books every night. You maintained a superb command of languages and would instantly remember a French greeting you hear it just once. During our reading sessions, you progressively remembered both English and Japanese vocabulary for all objects and verbs. You enjoyed playing with European kids in the Sunday school in Canary Wharf. It helps that we can be mobile as you were potty trained at 16 months old with just a few mishaps after that. So daddy and mummy just took you where ever we like to go. In more of our walks together spending time to communicate, we went beyond the basic conversations in 2 languages, to encouraging you to develop an enquiring mind.
Even before the age of 2 years old, we experimented with the Why questions. Daddy was so delighted that we covered a lot of stories and intelligent conversations together. This stimulates daddy to continue such efforts to spur your intelligence and reflect on communication with toddlers. Blogging about our experiences inspires daddy to also try this for Sayaka and Wataru. Parenting is a pleasure when we connect with our children. Thank you Haruka for giving daddy such a privilege and joy. I pray that you will continue to cherish all these experiences you share with daddy. This blog documents most of my experiences with you, as daddy had more time earlier to blog and take lots of pictures with you. Please be nice to your siblings and love them as much as daddy loved you. The blog documents the many discoveries I wish to share with all my children so that they grow beautiful inside and out, like you. Love, Papa.

(Photos show Haruka's travel to Paris, Palace of Versailles, London, Kagurazaka and her 2 year old birthday celebrated at the Garden Lounge of Hotel New Otani, Tokyo).

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Tip 255: Letter to 1 year old Haruka

Dear my darling Haruka,

I still remember the first few seconds of your entry into this world. After papa carried you from the midwife's arms, you stopped crying when you heard papa sing "Happy Birthday to you". Your eyes begin to circle the surroundings. I was not sure if you could actually see as most babies' vision are usually blur. Yet, you actually made an attempt to explore. You may find the tune and voice familiar since papa has been singing the same song, while you were in mama's womb. Or you may notice the difference between being in the womb and being in open air. That moment of seeing you so alert in your first few minutes, gave papa a sign that you are an intelligent, perceptive child, a blessing from God. It made all of papa's hard work and preparation in the past 9 months before your birth worthwhile. It was papa's first time being a daddy and God answered my prayer that you are easy to take care of and is constantly patient to teach papa the meaning of parenting.

It was a pleasure to be home to watch you grow more clever each day. It took away daddy's stress of working in Tokyo. When I spent time to try out new games and nursery rhymes with you even at a young age of under 1 year old, you responded well. You became daddy's new companion and made daddy's sacrifices worthwhile. Daddy enjoyed thinking of new role plays to stimulate your curiosity. Each time it works as you have a deep desire to learn and possess strong observation skills. Whenever daddy has the opportunity to be back home early, daddy enjoyed going out on walks with you at the Japanese neighborhood to watch the birds and other pets. At a young age, you observe quickly the different moving objects and read the environment effectively. This inspired daddy to be a passionate daddy to continue his role to observe your learning and to try out new parenting tips. It is the very reason why this blog was created, which is to reflect on every new discovery I made with you.

Life is so much more meaningful as I watch life at a
closer distance. As I see you grow and blossom in beauty and intelligence, I am full of marvel at how precious life is. I thank God for reminding me this at the beginning of my career and role as a daddy. A wise Japanese colleague advised that I should not miss this opportunity to watch you grow from a young baby into the 1 year old girl you became. Despite my busyness at work, I put priority to remember to watch your growth and spend time playing and communicating with you. It is a precious moment to see how life fragile as it is, grows into a beautiful flower. Every step you made brought excitement to daddy. It is the thought that one day, you will become someone intelligent and important, much more than daddy. I was so impressed at your gift of languages. At a young age, you listened attentively even before age one. Daddy's investment of time in speaking bilingually in both Japanese and English with you paid off. One day, you will master many languages and charm the world with your insights and ability to build bridges with different individuals and cultures. Your acceptance of daddy is a great start in becoming that special person you were meant to be. Continue to demonstrate your perceptive understanding with patience, love abundantly and cherish all the good memories you have. Be thankful and be joyful. When you smile at these memories, your life will shine like a bright star to others. 
Love, Papa.

(Photos show Haruka's 1 year old studio photos. Daddy cutting his first umbilical cord. While daddy has cut the umbilical cords of all his children, it was only in Japan in this midwife's clinic that there were two midwives available. One of them was patient to take off her glove and snap this wonderful photo of you Haruka.)